Advice is provided on the maintenance of tracks and good operating practices.
In the July 2016 edition of Tigercats “Between the Branches” newsletter (Issue 43), we are given advice on how to make our tracks last longer. We are all aware that track replacement is very costly and therefore it is good practise to adopt a management approach that maximises track life. Tracked machines that operate in the terrain face more difficult conditions than the standard construction excavator that mostly parks on a flat and smooth surface. Stumps, rocks, machine slewing, mud and sand can all damage track components or cause premature wear.
According to Tigercat, the starting point for good track maintenance is to examine the undercarriage section of the machine operator manual. All the maintenance procedures and settings are clearly described in this document. It is important that chain tension is set according to conditions. The chain should usually only be set sufficiently tight to prevent the sprocket from jumping. When operating on steep slopes or muddy conditions, the chain may need to be set tighter than when operating on hard or flat ground. If the track is too tight, it will wear out quicker. Chain tension affects pin bearing loads and contact stress at the sprocket. The track assembly can last 50% longer just by setting the correct amount of sag. Pre-work checks should look for loose bolts, leaking seals and abnormal wear.
When selecting tracks, select the narrowest track shoe that will meet your flotation requirements. The operator should avoid counter-rotating the track where possible. Counter rotating increases track wear and affects other undercarriage components. The machine should be gradually turned while moving forward or reversing. Tracks should also be driven with the idlers forward. If the machine is driven in reverse, the top half of the chain is subject to the full tractive pull. This doubles the pin and bushing load cycle and will reduce their useful life. The machine should work up and down slopes where possible as working across the slope stresses the track shoe. The operator should try and avoid driving directly over large stumps and rocks as this causes twisting loads that can cause internal pin damage. Of course, the more difficult terrain (steel slopes, mud, rocks etc) the machine works in, the shorter the track life will be. Source: http://www.tigercat.com/between-the-branches/